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Rita Moser: Creating an Environment of Hospitality

Rita Moser

The housekeeping department on the Mercy campus prides itself on being invisible, not an easy task given the constant flow of conference guests and retreatants.

The secrets lie in the head and heart of Mercy Center Environmental Services Manager Rita Moser, a compact, dark-haired woman, often seen, clipboard in hand, in earnest discussion with a member of her staff checking a room set up—chairs in a neat circle, video screen down, flip chart stocked with markers. A visitor takes for granted that Mercy Center’s 90 bedrooms, three kitchenettes, 12 conference rooms, the Chapel and all the nooks and crannies are serenely ordered and convent clean.

How do Rita and her staff of 12 keep up? “You prepare as much as possible,” said Rita. “You have to know that things are good here all the time. It’s such a commitment.” Rita came to Mercy as a receptionist after retiring early from AT&T customer services in 1999. The San Francisco native was quickly put in charge of housekeeping, utilizing her fluent Spanish and management abilities. She learned to budget supplies, figure out the number of sheets needed, how to clean as “green” as possible. Every set up and clean up is planned and calendared.

She learned that there are odd requests. One person needed to have her mattress on the floor with pillows in just the right place for her back. “She was so grateful,” Rita says. “I’m glad we could make her stay possible.” But the hardest task, she says, is when routine requests change at the last minute. A conference in a U shape suddenly changes to a classroom setup, requiring lifting and moving heavy furniture.

Rita is quick to pay tribute to her staff. “My crew is very dedicated to getting something done. I can count on them. Maria Palacios, lead housekeeper—she’s my right and my left hand.” Her dependable staff allows her to spend some time with her husband, two adult daughters, a son-in-law, a nine-year-old granddaughter and three dogs.

Rita values working for the Mercy Sisters. “The best thing is that you feel appreciated here. People know your name, worry about you, pray for you and your family--even your dogs!”